Macaroni salad is the perfect side dish for casual summer eating. This easy creamy curried macaroni salad recipe is a twist on an old classic.
Macaroni salad/Noodle salad/Pasta salad. Whatever you call it, I love it. Macaroni salad reminds me of my childhood and hot summer days spent with family. I’m pretty sure my mom was the queen of all macaroni salads when I was young because hot damn, that woman knew how to knock one together. And because of that, macaroni salads were a staple at pretty much all of our braais (barbecues/cook outs/summer gatherings).
This creamy curried macaroni salad is an amalgamation of two of my favourite childhood salads. My mom’s macaroni salad and her curried rice salad. Rice salads are an odd thing to me. I could never totally wrap my brain around them but my mom always made her curried rice salad for Christmas day and slowly but surely I fell in love with it. The flavours of my mom’s rice salad might seem odd to a lot of people but I promise, it just works. Afrikaans people have a special talent for working sweetened condensed milk into savoury foods. It’s very weird. But in this salad, it is genius. The condensed milk adds serious creaminess and just the right amount of sweetness to the curried salad dressing.
Another weird ingredient of this salad is canned peaches. Again, Afrikaners have this way of adding fruit to everything. Something I usually can’t stand, but again. Here it just works. The peaches (feel free to use fresh if you want) compliment the aromatic dressing so well and the bell pepper, cucumber and celery add serious crunch. (If the thought of fruit in a macaroni salad gives you the heebie-jeebies, feel free to leave it out or replace with orange bell pepper.)
So I took my mom’s old school rice salad and replaced the rice with al dente macaroni and you guys. It is so delicious. I would be lying to you if I told you I didn’t eat most of this bowl by myself. It’s honestly such a great salad to take to pot luck dinners and will be the star of the show at any of your summer parties (um, hi 4th of July)!
- 500g/1lb macaroni, cooked
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1x 400g/14oz can peaches, drained and chopped
- 1½ cups mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1-2 teaspoons curry powder (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine the cooked macaroni with the remaining salad ingredients.
- Stir together all the dressing ingredients.
- Pour ¾ of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Reserve the rest of the dressing.
- Place the macaroni salad in the fridge and allow to chill for an hour (alternatively, you can make this the day before. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.)
- Just before serving, pour over the remaining dressing and mix well.